7 Beneficial Kitchen Upgrades: Expert Tips & Advice
by Pete Lader April 11, 2022
The kitchen is central to a home’s function and livability, making it the most important space in a house. Your kitchen fulfills several needs, from hosting dinners with friends and work acquaintances to preparing snacks for your kids. If you are preparing to remodel your kitchen or just looking to upgrade it, plan for kitchen upgrades that benefit the kitchen’s functionality.
1. Go Big with Your Appliances
Prioritize functionality and ease of use with the largest appliances you can fit into your space. Kitchen appliances, primarily the range and refrigerator, are no place to compromise. They are essential components in a highly functional kitchen.
The standard refrigerator has about 20 to 25 ft³ of storage space. While this is ideal for a family of four, everyone with a regular fridge knows that the unpacking post-grocery trip exposes a standard refrigerator’s storage restraints. Large refrigerators have 25+ ft³ of storage space and mostly add space with width extensions. This spacious Stainless Steel Refrigerator/Freezer by Forno has 27.6 ft³ of storage space. Its small depth measurement of 29.7" keeps it within counter depth so your kitchen doesn’t sacrifice walkway space for a big refrigerator. The inset dimensions also give your kitchen the sleek appearance common in contemporary style kitchens.
Large kitchen range
If you make meals for a big family or just love to cook new and complicated recipes, you need to upgrade to an extra-large kitchen range. The standard kitchen range has four burners and a 3 to 5 ft³ oven. Compared to the expansive 60" ZLINE Professional Range and its 7.6 ft³ of oven space, a standard oven feels quite restrictive. The ZLINE Range has nine burners ranging from 5,100 BTUs to 18,000 BTUs and a fish burner for oblong pans and griddles.
The oven space is separated into two distinct ovens for ultimate baking freedom. The smaller oven is 2.8 ft³, and the larger oven is a standard 4.6 ft³. The black stainless steel and hints of gold on the burners make this range perfect for a kitchen with a dark color scheme. While kitchen space restraints can limit the size of appliances you choose, the added functionality makes it worthwhile if you have the space to go larger.
2. Choose Eco-Friendly Appliance Models
Choose eco-friendly appliances in your kitchen to protect the planet and reduce your monthly energy bill. If you are unsure how to determine what appliances are best for the environment, just look for the ENERGY STAR symbol. ENERGY STAR is an unbiased government signifier that tells consumers a product is energy-efficient, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2019, ENERGY STAR certified products saved Americans $39 billion in energy costs.
Low water use dishwashers
The Stainless Steel Dishwasher by Thor Kitchen is ENERGY STAR certified, operates quietly and has a large capacity. Each wash only uses three gallons of water per cycle. Another way this dishwasher is eco-friendly is its large capacity that cleans more dishes with less water and energy consumption. It holds up to 14 place settings, which is twice as much as a standard dishwasher. The top of the door control placement makes it a minimalist stainless steel design that fits into any kitchen.
Another energy-efficient appliance for your kitchen is the induction stove. They are the most efficient stove top option because they use electricity and magnets to heat food rather than flames. Their heating mechanism also makes them safer than traditional stoves because heat is not emanating from the stovetop. The Thor Kitchen Glass Induction Cooktop has five cooking elements, a sleek design and touch control. It is ideal for a futuristic kitchen that values energy efficiency in its appliances.
3. Invest in a High-Powered Range Hood
A high-powered range hood ensures your kitchen is free from odors, fumes and smoke. It also protects your kitchen surfaces and appliances from developing a layer of grease over time. Range hoods come either wall-mounted, under cabinet, island or inserted. The style and the venting capacity you choose depend on your kitchen’s layout and your range’s size and stovetop BTUs. For example, if you have an island cooking surface, you need to get an island range hood that hangs from the ceiling.
For ranges connected to a wall, under cabinet, inserted and wall-mounted hoods are your options. Wall-mounted hoods can have a vertical chimney attachment called a flue. Under-cabinet hoods connect to the above-the-stove cabinets and send the air into the home’s ducts in the cabinet. Inserted hoods are surrounded by cabinets, giving the kitchen ventilation without the appearance of the hood. The hood size should at least match your range dimensions and, sometimes, it should be 6" wider than your range to capture all the fumes. Typically, your range hood should have one cubic foot per minute (CFM) of ventilation per 100 BTUs your stove top has. For example, you would install a 450 CFM range hood with a 45,000 BTU stove top.
Range and range hood package
To ensure you get the right size hood and that it matches the style of your other appliances, consider opting for a kitchen appliance package. You can choose a package with just the range and range hood or add in any other appliance you want to upgrade your kitchen with. The best kitchen appliance packages provide you with color scheme options, range dimensions and style for your kitchen to ensure your appliances work well together.
4. Increase Countertop Space
You could have all the best appliances in your kitchen, but your kitchen will feel cramped without adequate preparation space. Increasing your countertop space, either with completely new counters, a kitchen island or countertop extensions, ensures sufficient space to prepare meals and entertain guests in the kitchen.
If you are building a custom kitchen or planning to remodel your current kitchen completely, consider adding additional countertop space. Traditional countertops extend out a couple of inches past the cabinets below. Add another half foot of countertop extension past your cabinets to give yourself more prep room without sacrificing countertop space for appliance storage. Adding a kitchen island can be hugely beneficial if your kitchen layout allows it. It adds more counter space for meal preparation, and it can also be used as a dining space and extra under-the-counter storage. It can also reduce the distance between workstations in your kitchen.
Add countertop space on a budget
To gain countertop space without a full-out remodel, add a countertop peninsula, build fold-down countertop additions or install a kitchen sink with countertop accessories. Countertop peninsulas extend from existing countertops at an angle. They will not work with all floorplans because they can overwhelm smaller kitchen spaces; however, peninsulas with open shelving and rounded corners can make it feel less intrusive.
A fold-down countertop is best for galley kitchens and small condominium kitchens. You can use braces to hold it level during food preparation and return it to its spot on the wall afterward. Make your kitchen sink into a flex space with the ZLINE Garmisch Stainless Steel Sink that comes with accessories, including a cutting board. This model effectively expands your preparation space without building a new countertop by accommodating a cutting board and strainer in the recessed sink.
5. Rethink Your Workflow
Ergonomic kitchens take into account the workflow typical to kitchen space and build the layout to best facilitate efficient work. Since the introduction of ergonomics to the kitchen in the 1940s, the work triangle has been the go-to layout consideration. The work triangle refers to the three most-used parts of the kitchen and their functions: the refrigerator, the range and the sink.
An efficient kitchen minimizes obstacles, distance and foot traffic between the three points of the work triangle. Ideally, your kitchen should have no more than 9 ft. and no less than 4 ft. between workstations. This leaves room for countertops and food preparation between stations but keeps the stations close enough to not waste time in transition.
You can apply the work triangle concept to any kitchen layout. Galley kitchens with a kitchen triangle have two workstations on one side of the kitchen and the third on the other wall. L-shaped kitchens common in open-floor plans utilize either an island for one station or keep the three stations close to the right angle. U-shaped and G-shaped kitchens organize the work triangle on the three sides of the kitchen for an ergonomic workflow.
6. Replace Your Sink
The kitchen sink is essential for keeping your kitchen clean and organized. It can also add to your kitchen’s style with ornate or sleek faucets. Consider installing a deep undermount sink or a farmhouse apron sink for easier cleaning and food preparation.
A deep undermount sink, like the ZLINE Meribel 36" Single Bowl Sink, installs into a custom hole in your countertop. Your countertop goes right up to and over the sink lip so cleaning your countertop and sink is simple. With an undermount sink, there are no crevices or sink surfaces to collect debris or grime, causing bacteria and mold growth. The ZLINE Meribel is 36" wide and 10" deep to accommodate the largest wash jobs. ZLINE uses creased lines and an angled basin to drain water faster. Choose a deep undermount sink if you want to maximize countertop space, have a streamlined and sanitary sink and want a sink that can store a lot of dishes.
Apron sinks are installed into a custom cut hole in the countertop, but instead of being surrounded by countertops like an undermount sink, the front vertical face protrudes a few inches beyond the counter and cabinetry. This style sink can improve your cleaning station ergonomics by preventing you from leaning into the basin.
The ZLINE Niseko Apron Double Bowl Sink features an exposed front face which gives you easy access to the sink’s basin. The ZLINE Niseko’s 10" basin depth allows you to easily clean big pots or baking sheets while minimizing splashing. While the apron sink started as a popular style for farmhouse kitchens, the ZLINE Niseko’s stainless steel build lends itself nicely to modern and contemporary kitchens. Pair it with other stainless steel ZLINE appliances to give your kitchen a cohesive style.
7. Add Functional Lighting
Visibility in the kitchen is essential for safety and efficiency, so extra functional lighting is necessary in addition to ambient ceiling lights.
Recessed adjustable kitchen lights are ideal for improving ambient lighting in your kitchen. They disperse the light more effectively than standard ceiling lights, making them ideal for kitchens with limited natural light. You can also find fixtures and bulbs compatible with dimmers to alter the amount of light produced to save energy or set the mood.
Task lighting for your primary kitchen workstations ensures optimal visibility around hot stoves and sharp knives. A range hood with LED lighting like the Thor Kitchen 36" Stainless Steel Hood is perfect task lighting for your cooking station. The touch screen controls its two 3.5W LED lights on the front of the hood. Under-cabinet lighting with an LED strip is excellent for lighting stretches of countertop. If your kitchen’s ambient lighting causes shadows on your countertops during food preparation, installing under-cabinet lighting is an easy solution. They also keep the kitchen lit without having to overwhelm the room with ambient lights.
Upgrade Your Kitchen with Premium Home Source
There are countless kitchen upgrades, and it can be hard to know where to start. Since the kitchen is such a functional space, starting your kitchen upgrades with those that benefit you the most is best. Maybe a set of new Thor appliances is the upgrade you need for a more functional kitchen or, perhaps, upgraded task lighting is all your kitchen was missing.
No matter what upgrades you decide to implement next, let Premium Home Source supply you with the high-quality appliances and decorations you need. We partner with the top brands for guaranteed quality and have amazing customer service to ensure our customers are satisfied with their new appliances. Contact us today for more information about our high-quality kitchen products.